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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yeah, it's that time of year again. Sorry it's a little delayed this year. But I had to move house, get a reliable net connection sorted and really I wanted to wait for the FIFA results to come out for comparison purposes anyway. Dunno what their excuse is.

Anyway, you know the score by now. You all voted, the people with the most points win prizes.

Vote seperators are firstly number of times they were voted as someone's number one, and secondly the amount of votes they got (you win with more). If everything else is equal it's a draw, and there are a few draws this year.

I will point out again there are a few draws, because someone is always all "WTF?" when a number gets skipped and they don't read the = before the number, so keep a ****ing eye out.


This year 58 people voted. I was hoping to get closer to 100 but I guess I can blame VS and the lack of google spiders for that.

The following people were kind enough to bother voting.

Rob/juventus2/Rodriguez/Leckan/Homer/A10/ekim/repLica/PepGuardiola/ K5-H17M4N, Frederic/”Andy”/Vidic15/Camp Nou/Cruyff14/Manijak/Stephan/M.G/Garrincha/Vedz/lionmessi/pun/MaidenMadness/Rhizoid/RobI/ilgenio/Angerjas/Culed/Darealest/pumba/Nesty/Zico 10/FC Barcelona9/las7/Steph!/wariss/JD Crociato/Xavinho/Maturin/Andrey/Amr!/SyKe/Fernando Torres/LiquidFire/Herou/Mutu/Dekalog/totti_the_king/Joshua/Hasuni/Cacini/Real_Madrid/Trip Fontaine/henryrules/Koeman4/Alias12/Osman/Zoric

If you didn't vote then more fool you, because several things were really, really close this year and every vote really did count.

Countdown to be underway as soon as I get the first guy typed up. Amuse yourselves for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh well, it was a tough year to get points in.



#20. David Silva (0 points/0 votes) :(


Teams played for in 2008 - Valencia, Spain.
Position - Wide midfield
2008 resume - Euro 2008 winner, Copa del rey winner
Position on FIFA WPOY - N/A
XT WPOTY history - N/A

It's a bit tough on David to be the first guy in history to get no points in the final after getting through to it, but I'm sure he's pretty enough to get over it. Had he had as much luck with injuries as he's had in the genetic lottery then he might well have managed to rack some serious points up. As it is, he seems to be injured far more than is fair for a player of his talent.

He's mostly there for his performances in the summer, of course. So the summer is where I'll focus. Truly he was the balance of the Spanish team. It's weird to talk about a wide player as a balancer, but in Spain, where everyone is a deep lying playmaker/continuity passer, it's entirely possible. He brought the variation to their midfield play that they've maybe lacked in previous tournament chokes. He could do that because he has the ability to spare both as a wide man, and coming inside to get involved in the pretty passing pictures being painted in the middle of the park. That's something Joaquin, Exteberria et al have never been able to offer, when Silva is there to offer it, to be the difference between nice play but isolated strikers sulking infront of far too much passing, and a cutting edge. For acting as that key component alone, he warrants inclusion.

The rest of the year was charectarised by injuries and Ronald Koeman, but it's best not to dwell on that. Summer is the best time of year anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is noone online at the moment or is everyone distracted by Man City and their outlandish plan to divert attention from this by spending too much money?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Only 17 places more to go to complete the mission statement.



=#18. Robinho (1 point/1 vote)


Teams played for in 2008 - Real Madrid, Manchester City, Brazil.
Position - Wide midfield/support striker
2008 resume - La Liga winner
Position on FIFA WPOY - N/A
XT WPOTY history - N/A

Football still manages to weird me out sometimes. Robinho's year is an incredible example of how it can do that. It's like some kind of reverse Roy of the Rovers yet somehow still being an incredible success type thing.

He did manage to pick up a title this year with Real, and be pretty important in doing so, but noone is going to remember Robinho in 2008 for that. They'll remember his 2008 for being a man on a mission in the second half. Insulted by Real, who tried to replace him with C Ronaldo while paying Royston Drenthe more than him, he was all set to join Big Phil at Chelsea, in a natural move of a big player from one big team to another.

And then he ended up at Manchester City, with admittedly considerably better lined pockets, but still at Manchester City. What's more he was stating that he was going there to become the best player in the world. How we scoffed, and how stupid we look for scoffing now he's actually on the right track towards doing it.

Granted, he's playing in a very on/off side, but when he plays, they play. And when he has been playing well, he's been destroying people in his first season in a new league that was supposed to be too physical for him. And even though City are struggling, it looks like he's having the time of his life doing it. Truly a player reborn, just because he feels important and loved. That's destined to continue to be the case, as perhaps the initial and central member of the new era galacticos.

With those guys at his side this year, does anyone want to bet against him getting closer to his goal? I know I don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I wonder if he gets to organise pizza chucking contests now he's captain?



=#18. Cesc Fabregas (1 point/1 vote)


Teams played for in 2008 - Arsenal, Spain
Position - Box to box midfielder
2008 resume - Euro 2008 winner
Position on FIFA WPOY - #14
XT WPOTY history - #17 in 2006, #6 in 2007.

I would call this result the arrival of Fabregas among the true established elites of the game, because really it seems like he's had a fairly quiet year. A fairly quiet year in which he won what could turn out to be the biggest honour of his career, but on the playing front, not amazing by his standards.

So does this mean we've arrived at a consensus where he's so world class he doesn't have to be at his best to be considered one of the absolute elite of world football? It would seem so. He spent most of the year trying to drag Arsenal up to his standards, and didn't ever quite manage to do it and capitalise on what he'd set up with his brilliant play in 2007. He's still all class, and that's clearly been recognised here. He also deserves props for being one of the more effective consistent bench players in a winning international team at the Euros too. When Spain needed a boost, Cesc provided it.

Perhaps I'm just becoming too accustomed to his high standards now. It's good that everyone decided to remind me just how good this kid really is. That he got made captain of one of the better teams in Europe at his age is a testament to that fact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Madrid did wrong in not keeping Robinho IMO...even though he wanted to go in the end they still could have nursed him better...because of his dribbling ability in 1-on-1 situations he always gave the feeling that his marker was in trouble especially when in speed on the counter(kinda like Robben).
If Robben can actually stay fit he'll be a lock for this next year the way he's playing. One of the most talented players to never get on one of our end of year lists. Timing really, because I'm sure he would have been top 10 in 2005 had I started them a year earlier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
So many goals, so little time.



=#16. Vedad Ibisevic (2 points/2 votes)


Teams played for in 2008 - Hoffenheim, Bosnia
Position - Striker
2008 resume - 2 Bundesliga runner up
Position on FIFA WPOY - N/A
XT WPOTY history -N/A

I must admit to knowing very little about Vedad Ibisevic before this year. His Brazilian supply line, Carlos Eduardo was the only Hoffenheim player I had an especially good grasp on at that point. Man, way to explode onto the top level with an absolute eruption of goals, though. I've quite simply never seen anything like it, in terms of a player stepping up a league and banging in goals at such an insane ratio. Time will tell if he's here to stay or just a flash in the pan, but even if he never sniffs a place on this list again, it's hard to argue with him making it this year. People just aren't supposed to hit the back of the net at this kind of pace, and he is and in a big league too. So well done to the guy, and here's hoping he can keep it up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Anime dudes creeping onto the list confirms our geek status, really.



=#16. Sergio Aguero (2 points/2 votes)


Teams played for in 2008 - Atletico Madrid, Argentina
Position - Striker
2008 resume - Olympic gold medal
Position on FIFA WPOY - #20
XT WPOTY history -N/A

A breakout year for El Kun, really. Sure, we all knew he was a gem, and destined to become a true world class player, but 2008 is the year in which it happened. A kid who's been playing so well that Atleti have barely noticed the departure of their former flagship superstar, Fernando Torres. Really, he's been playing so well that the Rojiblanco have actually improved since Torres moved on to pastures new.

It's the balance that does it I think. It's rare to see a player with such a beautiful centre of gravity. When you do, it's even rarer to see one who can build his game around it in the way Aguero has. Pace, trickery and no small amount of calm infront of goal. He's becoming one of those players that a defender just doesn't know what to do with.

How long Atleti can keep him out of the paws of the Euro super elite is debateable. What isn't debateable is that this is the first of many appearances in this poll for Sergio Aguero.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
"You know immigrants do the jobs that locals don't want to do, right?



#15. Marcos Senna (3 points/1 vote)


Teams played for in 2008 - Villarreal, Spain
Position - Holding midfield
2008 resume - Euro 2008 winner, La Liga runner-upl
Position on FIFA WPOY - N/A
XT WPOTY history -N/A

When will the ascent end for Marcos Senna? Logistically, there has to come a point where his policy of seemingly getting better every day he gets older has to end. He's already pushing it, it's pretty rare for a player to arrive at the top of the game this late in his career and it can't go on forever. At the moment, he's turning into one of the definitive holding players and in the age of the wonderkid, that's to be applauded.

As unlauded as he was a few years ago, he's earned his ascent through pure hard work and learning of the game. At Villarreal he's become the heartbeat of the team. The guy who allows the likes of Carzola and Pires to do the nice stuff, while he makes it possible. That's not to say he's not an impact player himself, though as he weighs in with important thunderbolts at key points in games on a fairly regular basis. Truly a central cog in Villarreal's rise to the top of the Spanish game, and it's maybe now only becoming clear just how important he's been to their ascent.

And then there was the summer. Man, how well he played in the summer. The screen for everyone behind him, the base for everyone infront. No longer could anyone accuse Spain of being soft in the middle, and no longer did they choke in a major championship because of it. Pretty amazing for a player Brazil wouldn't even have looked at a few years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Seemingly the new minister of defence



=#13. Rio Ferdinand (4 points/2 votes)


Teams played for in 2008 - Manchester United, England
Position - Centre back
2008 resume - Champions league winner, World club championship winner, Premiership winner.
Position on FIFA WPOY - N/A!
XT WPOTY history -N/A

Maturity can do a lot for a player. Especially when it's a player that used to go around merking people, like Rio Ferdinand. Maturity brings focus, concentration, dedication and a number of things that Rio has that he didn't used to. Out are the concentration lapses and unsettling influence that used to spoil his game, in are consistency and genuine leadership abilities.

Quite a year he had as a captain too, he got to captain England once and he captained Man U a lot more than you would expect, considering he's only third in line for the captaincy. Then there's the small matter of picking up the European cup as captain.

And how sublime he was in doing it. Along with Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Wes Brown he helped steer a firm defence to allow the glamour names upfront to strut their stuff. His understanding with Vidic, in particular is almost telepathic. I suppose consistency must help with that, because before it would have been hard to have an understanding with a guy who didn't know what he was going to do himself half the time.

Know he knows what he's going to do, and that seems to be to win lots and lots of trophies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Scores a stupid amount of goals even when he's shit



=#13. Samuel Eto'o (4 points/2 votes)


Teams played for in 2008 - Barcelona, Cameroon
Position - Striker
2008 resume - African Nations Cup runner up.
Position on FIFA WPOY - #7
XT WPOTY history -#3 in 2006

Ah, Samu. That guy certainly seems to have a high opinion of himself. Personally, I think he's pretty refined with it, because if I was as good at football as him, I'd refuse to play for a team that wasn't sponsored by a company called "I am awesome", so lay off the guy, alright.

It seems like he's actually taken a fair amount of abuse this year, Barcelona were even willing to sell him at one point! The ridiculousness of that stance is now being brought home as he's hammering goals in at the spearhead of the best team in the world. A lot of people seem to forget that he was perhaps the best player at the African cup of nations this year, too. Dragging Cameroon through to the final and putting to rest any suggestions that he doesn't play as well for his country as his club.

He's quite simply the finest striker on the planet at the moment. Pace, poise, skill and finishing. It's rare for someone who's quite so ice cold infront of goal to be as apt at getting involved in build up play as Samu is. Yet a side with the footballing ethos of Barcelona can move him around the pitch and have him involved in the build up. He's really what the term explosive was defined for, when it comes to footballing terms too. You think everything is under control and then the ball is arrowing past your keeper and nestling in the top corner.

I bet Barca fans are pretty happy that Man City takeover didn't take place a few days earlier, huh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
People need to make their minds up whether he's the new Ronaldo or the new Zidane, impressive dude, though.



#12. Karim Benzema (5 points/3 votes)


Teams played for in 2008 - Lyon, France
Position - Striker
2008 resume - Ligue 1 winner, Coupe de France winner
Position on FIFA WPOY - N/A
XT WPOTY history -N/A

It really is make your mind up for football journalists when it comes to Karim Benzema. Is he the new Ronaldo, because of the way he runs at defenders on the way to scoring goals? Is he the new Zidane because of his Algerian descent? Or is it just that he's the first Karim Benzema, and he's going to carve out his own legend in the game?

It's looking increasingly like the latter option is the more sensible one. Benzema is his own guy, too unchaotic to be a Ronaldo, too explosive to be a Zidane. He's breaking into the national team on a full time basis and he's fast becoming one of the most recognisable figures to play outside one of the big three leagues. Not that he's expected to play outside the big three leagues for long, as a blockbuster offer will surely tempt Monsieur Aulas into letting his pride and joy go sooner rather than later.

Will he have problems adapting to life in one of the big three? Doubt it, this is a player born to play football anywhere, on his terms. Those are not terms defenders will want to get used to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Screw you Dani, I am taking your place everywhere.



#11. Maicon (6 points/2 votes)


Teams played for in 2008 - Inter, Brazil
Position - Right back
2008 resume - Serie A winner, Coppa Italia runner up
Position on FIFA WPOY - N/A
XT WPOTY history -N/A

The Maicon Vs Dani Alves arguments have been going on for an absolute age on this site. This year, it seems it's Maicon's chance to shine. It's pretty unfair that Brazil has both the guys jostling for the right back honours, but Brazil are not known for being fair when it comes to hoarding good players.

Maicon has taken the Alves position of old, being the vice creative spark in a title winning team behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic. To do that from right back is mightily impressive to say the least. With the fall of Materazzi from these lists, it seems a new guy has stepped up to carry the hearts of the Interisti in the world player of the year awards on Xtratime.

Dunga is a spoliled brat when it comes to this position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Proof the long way round sometimes works.



#10. Franck Ribery (7 points/3 votes)


Teams played for in 2008 - Bayern Munich, France
Position - Winger
2008 resume - Bundesliga winner, German cup winner
Position on FIFA WPOY - #18
XT WPOTY history -N/A

If there's one player who sums up the mercenary age of football, it's Ribery. The guy moves from team to team, expanding his horizons, broadening his wage packet and working to increase his standing. Certainly "loyalty" isn't a word that applies to him. Yet, if you're going to try to move as much as possible to get to the top, it helps if you have skills that are going to be in demand.

Ribery certainly has those, in his rise through France, to Turkey, back to France again and to Germany, he's left countless full backs in his wake, on the floor wondering what just happened. A burst of speed and the ugly guy was gone, a neat pass or finish and your side was another goal down. There was nothing you could do about it, that's just Ribery.

Finally he's arrived at a big club, and while I doubt it'll be his last one, it'll do for now. He spearheaded the revolution of a team that had become tired back into the big time, both at the top of German football and in the champion's league. He was playing better than ever, it's hardly a coincidence that during the Euro's, when he got injured, France collapsed. Also hardly a coincidence that when he was fit again, Bayern started to march Hoffenheim down in the Bundesliga.

There'll probably be a few more stops on the Ribery road during his career. It's best for fans not to get too attached to him, it'll be tough when he leaves you, but enjoy it while it lasts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Should be higher, imo.



#9. Andrei Arshavin (10 points/4 votes/1 number one vote)


Teams played for in 2008 - Zenit St Petersburg, Russia
Position - Attacking midfield/wide midfield/support striker
2008 resume - UEFA cup winner, European super cup winner
Position on FIFA WPOY - #11
XT WPOTY history -N/A
Voted #1 by ilgenio

Seriously, try and think of someone else who has had a breakout year like Arshavin? Still thinking? Well keep trying, because you won't be getting anywhere with it. Twelve months ago, he was barely known by fans outside Russia, and maybe England who'd been tormented by him in the Euro qualifiers. Now, he's been linked with just about every big club in the world, been perhaps the best player in the biggest tournament of the year and been the best player in a UEFA cup winning team.

It's really quite incredible for someone to take all their chances as well as Arshavin has this year. Every time an opportunity to shine in a big game has popped up, he grasped it with both hands, apart from the Euro semi final where his whole team were thoroughly outplayed by the eventual winners.

Who'll forget his mesmerising performance in winning the UEFA cup, though. Or that performance in destroying the probable then favourites in the Holland game in the Euro's? It proved without any doubt that fantastic talents can hide away from most people for a hell of a long time if they're not playing somewhere where attention focuses on.

Forget Hleb, forget Rosicky, forget everyone. Eastern Europe has a new king of football, and his name is Andrei Arshavin.
 
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